ED raids TN minister Ponmudy, MP son in money laundering case
The raids are being undertaken at the premises of the father-son duo in state capital Chennai and Ponmudy's stronghold of Villupuram
The Enforcement Directorate on Monday conducted raids at multiple premises of DMK leader and Tamil Nadu Higher Education Minister K Ponmudy and his MP son Gautham Sigamani Pon in a money laundering case linked to alleged illegal mining, official sources said.
Escorted by armed personnel of the CRPF, the officials of the federal probe agency searched the premises under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
The raids are being undertaken at the premises of the father-son duo in state capital Chennai and Ponmudy's stronghold of Villupuram, they said.
The 72-year-old minister is an MLA from the Tirukkoyilur assembly seat in Villupuram district while his 49-year-old son Sigamani is a Member of Parliament representing the Kallakurichi seat.
The money laundering case stems from a state police FIR and charge sheet that alleged irregularities during Ponmudy's tenure as the state mining and minerals minister in the previous DMK government (between 2007 and 2011). There are allegations of violation of quarry licence conditions leading to "loss" of more than Rs 28 crore to the exchequer.
The state police had a filed a complaint to probe these charges of alleged corruption against the minister and those linked to him and the Madras High Court in June refused to stay the trial in this case after Sigamani approached it with a petition for relief.
The minister is accused of obtaining mining/quarry licences for his son and other family members and the licencees are alleged to have quarried red sand beyond the permissible limit.
The High Court said that there were grounds to presume that the petitioner has committed the offence and hence the trial cannot be stopped.
The ED had recently initiated a similar action against another minister in the cabinet of Chief Minister M K Stalin after it arrested Transport Minister Senthil Balaji in an alleged cash-for-jobs linked money laundering case. Stalin and the DMK have slammed the action against Balaji as "intimidation politics" by the Centre.